Two local moms are fighting gender stereotypes with a campaign on Kickstarter. Their goal is to create a clothing line that features more than just princesses and fairies.
Judging by the extraordinary response so far, they are not alone in wanting their little girls to have a wider variety of clothing options.
Why should girls have to choose between dresses and dinosaurs or ruffles and robots? That is a question D.C. mother Rebecca Melsky asked herself after shopping one day for her own daughter.
"I had this idea and I thought someone should do this," she said.
But the teacher and mother of two didn't even know how to sew. So she turned to her friend Eva St. Clair who did know how.
Fabric options turned out to be just as old-fashioned as Eva's 72-year-old sewing machine, so the two friends worked with a designer to create soft, colorful, non-stereotypical designs.
They turned them into a little play dress, dubbed their company, Princess Awesome, and started selling to friends.
"We know that most girls like to do lots of things and we think girls should be able to wear all that they are," said Melsky. "We think they should be able to twirl and spin and be proud to be a girl if that's how they want to be a girl, and they should also be proud to love dinosaurs -- all on one dress."
Their idea was a hit and they could barely keep up with demand, so they turned to Kickstarter to get their company out of their basement.
In between busy lives with six kids between them, they lined up a factory and got ready to start manufacturing on a bigger scale.
They wanted to see if they could raise $35,000 to cover fabric and labor. They got that in three days.
They are now more than $100,000 over their goal with two weeks left in their campaign.
"We were thrilled that there were so many people out there who wanted the same kinds of things that we wanted for our daughters," said St. Clair.
The more money they raise, the more sizes and styles they will be able to offer. If they hit $175,000, that will include what they call their busy dresses that feature cars, planes or trains -- and a very important message to little girls.
"There is no such thing as boy's things and girl's things," said St. Clair. "There are just things."
More than 8,000 people have liked their Facebook page and about 2,000 people have donated and placed orders on Kickstarter.
The moms are still working out all the details, but once the campaign ends, they will start production and hope to ship dresses by the summer.